Walsall manager Kevan Broadhurst has set his struggling side a target of three wins from their final five games to escape the drop.

Tuesday night's second successive home defeat has left Broadhurst's side just one place off the bottom of League One - and effectively four points adrift of safety thanks to a comparatively awful goal difference of minus 20.

As a man with a reputation for rescue acts, Broadhurst seemed like a breath of fresh air when he came in as the surprise replacement for the sacked Paul Merson in late February. But he has been unable to stop the rot.

Despite an encouraging start with away draws at high-riders Southend and Swansea and a 2-1 away at Tranmere, the Saddlers have now gone five games since that victory at Prenton Park - Walsall's only league win this year.

And things reached a new low in Tuesday night's 1-0 home win over Bournemouth when his substitution of old warhorse Steve Claridge with young Ishmel Demontagnac brought a terrace chant of "Are you Merson in disguise?"

But Broadhurst insists that the Saddlers can still stay up. "It was a big improvement on what we'd produced in the previous three or four games," said Broadhurst. "Had we worked at that pace and tempo before, we'd be in a far better position than we are now. But Tuesday night was much more acceptable.

"It wasn't pretty at times, which you get when you're struggling, but at least there was a lot of commitment and effort. And we've now got to win three out of the last five games - pure and simple.

"That gives us a chance, starting on Saturday against Port Vale. And, if we perform like we did against Bournemouth, it is certainly 'do-able.' But, if we go back to the way we were, then you have obviously got concerns."

Broadhurst hopes to have midfielder Grant Smith - their two-goal hero at Tranmere who has played just 54 minutes since - back for the Vale game after injury. But his main concern is winning back over the crowd in the wake of Claridge's controversial exit.

"I can feel their disappointment," said Broadhurst. "And obviously the substitution riled them. But, while Steve was absolutely magnificent and that's the best he's done for us, he is nearly 40."